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Winter advice for people new to winter

 
Posts: 45
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Well I’m not new to winter, but this winter is especially a difficult one.  It took me 5 hours to dig out the donkeys and the chickens. Just to get to them was a feat!  Yes chickens love snow!  I have containers that I fill for them. An hour later they are empty. For them snow is like styrofoam they can’t stop attacking it.


Driving in winter slush is the pits.  You really have to go slow!  If you don’t and an oncoming car is a little in your lane, you will be in the ditch.  Our roads have been solid ice for the last month and you just need to take your time.  Better to arrive alive than not at all!  

Just had a calf yesterday outside. 2 choices get the calf a coat or dig out our calf hutch.  Tried digging out calf hutch. It’s under 4 feet of snow. Did that but bottom of hutch is incased in 1 foot of ice so that was a no go. It went to -18c last night.  When I checked this morning the windchill was -26!  So I went out as soon as the sun was up this morning to check if there was life in the field. Sure enough the jacket I had put on the little bull calf was a success and he was alive!  

Yes I would love to have a Vancouver island winter!  I could handle 2 weeks of snow!  This is not fun anymore. Yes global warming, but could use a little more warmth here in winter. It seems like another start to an ice age in our neck of the woods. Of course our summers are the other extreme.  
 
Posts: 184
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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I live on the west coast of North America also, about 11 degrees latitude north of Victoria. Looks like our climates are similar in many ways but about 9C colder here in winter and 3.5C colder here in summer.  My day to day transport is my feet and an 18 foot aluminum skiff.  Somehow i got some water in the control cables so when it gets much below freezing I can't work the shifter or throttle for the outboard.  I took to unhooking the cables for winter and putting a rope on the throttle control and jumping back and forth between the outboard and steering console to shift between forward and reverse.  I keep a 4x4truck in town and love the studded tires.   yesterday drove out of a friend's driveway uphill on totally smooth ice covered with nonsticking new snow and no problems.  Ice cleats are important to use as we get a lot of winter thaws followed by refreeze and then new snow resulting in very slippery conditions.  Thankfully we seldom have deep snow here!
 
Mary-Ellen Zands
Posts: 45
Location: Ontario, Canada
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This is what we woke up to Wednesday.
97FF0EC2-1B85-4F51-BD94-FB4217EF7A2C.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 97FF0EC2-1B85-4F51-BD94-FB4217EF7A2C.jpeg]
Am I supposed to keep a shovel in the house?
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View from the house
 
master steward
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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Turning off the taps?

Apparently outside taps freeze and explode or something bad.  They have an extra on/off thing inside the wall (uninsulated wall, I might add).

Since we need the water for the animals we like to keep the taps on as much as possible.  What temperature do you turn off the taps?  Do you have to do anything else?  

What about the hose?  Does it need special care?  
 
gardener
Posts: 834
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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@ r ranson - I hear you. We live where we only get a *really bad* dump of snow every 3-5 years. Human nature is not good a spending the time and energy preparing for that kind of rare but maddening event. Making things worse, the year we get dumped with snow is also the year we usually get worse than usual windstorms. I joked elsewhere that I was struggling to mulch our chickens because: a) their shelters are portable so normally it's not something I need to do therefore I don't have a good plan in place,
b) their shelters aren't equipped with snow tires so after a week of snow they're getting desperate but still can't be moved,
and c) my mulch pile is under 20 inches of snow.
Yesterday's afternoon fun was shoveling off the potato bed - at least I've got new potatoes! Then shoveling off the vermicompost pile - snow's not a bad insulator so the worms were having a serious party under there and will hopefully like all the buckets of food that had been stacking up for a week. Then shoveling off the tarp strung up to keep rain off next winter's wood which was collapsing under the weight of the snow. My corn salad and miner's lettuce that were just getting to picking size will hopefully bounce back when this is all over.
Essentially, when snow happens here, coping with it simply becomes the priority. Every job takes 5 to 10 times longer to accomplish. We tend to very easily get an ice build-up under the snow (because the ground is warm enough to melt the lower layers as it starts snowing) which can be treacherous for walking, driving etc. Our animals aren't used to this either (watching Muscovy females trying to land on snow and skidding out is fun to watch, but they are not impressed!!)

And yes, because it's so rare to get this much snow and our snow is so heavy, even where I thought I'd left enough space for more snow, I've had to wade in and shovel the top of the pile further onto the lawn, and broke down in one spot and had my husband use the loader to move a snow pile further off the drive. He was already using the tractor to both move and pack down snow so it was already warmed up. And I swear next fall I'm going to buy a couple more snow shovels even though I won't need them for another 5 years!!
 
Posts: 93
Location: SW Washington
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I second gaiters; my favorite is old tall wool socks whose heels have worn through. Cut off the foot and pull up over your pants to the knee,  scrunch it up, pull on boot,  pull down cut sock into place. Works great for arms too, between the jacket and glove. I admit to having used plastic bags in a pinch.
 
Sally Munoz
Posts: 93
Location: SW Washington
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r ranson wrote:Turning off the taps?

Apparently outside taps freeze and explode or something bad.  They have an extra on/off thing inside the wall (uninsulated wall, I might add).

Since we need the water for the animals we like to keep the taps on as much as possible.  What temperature do you turn off the taps?  Do you have to do anything else?  

What about the hose?  Does it need special care?  



We insulate the taps if it gets below 20f and only use the tap if it's above freezing. Never use a hose if there's a chance ice could be in it, I learned the hard way on that one (could certainly share that experience in Dale's screw ups thread!)
As for hose care, a lot of people drain them and store but I use mine off and on during winter since my climate is pretty mild too. Mine just stay wherever they happen to be. Probably not the best, but it's what I do.
But like you, we have been hit pretty hard these last 9 days.
One really important thing I didn't see mentioned (I might've just missed it) is heat tape on outdoor pipes that are exposed. In my case, the only exposed pipe on our property is the one coming up off the well. It must have that wire tape on it when the temperatures drop to the low teens (rare here but it happens) or we will lose water to the house.
That happened once and we took turns using a hairdryer to thaw it, which worked (thank goodness!) but very tedious and much better to prevent a frozen pipe than have to squat out there in freezing weather thawing it!
 
Jay Angler
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We have what's called a "lever yard hydrant" in one location on our property and I wish we had more. Eg. https://www.homehardware.ca/en/lever-yard-hydrant-with-5-bury-depth/p/3230499 In our area, a "3 ft" bury depth would be plenty - we know ours is a little shallower as it once got a rock caught in it and we had to dig it up. Essentially when you put the lever down, the water in the pipe drains out below ground. People laugh that we have this because, "it never snows here" - yeah, right!!  I intentionally put the ducks near by there as they need 2 buckets of water/night and prefer 3 during the day. We *really* need an underground pipe up to the upper field and a second hydrant there for the chickens, but we're not there yet.

We use a "quick-connect" (http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=10370&cat=2,2280,33160 for a picture) to attach a hose in good weather, but you have to drain the hose every time you use it in freezing weather so with our current issues, we're carrying buckets.

Because water expands as it freezes, if you've got a regular tap, it will potentially burst the pipe leading to it, and if that leading pipe is in the house, you have a mess. If your walls aren't insulated, I'd consider this: https://www.amazon.ca/Prier-C-144X24-Anti-Siphon-Outdoor-Hydrant/dp/B00JJZHU6E   This will move the "shut off point" from in, or close to the wall, to further into the warmth of the house, and I suspect you can get different lengths. Again - do *not* leave a hose attached in freezing weather as it will stop the pipe from draining properly and it will burst (I know someone this happened to.)

I know of people who use the heat tape, but as was mentioned earlier, it can fail and you may not realize it. We have an insulated box around our well heads and the front one uses the "trouble light with an incandescent bulb" system but our back well actually has a small wall heater with a light on it so we can easily tell if there's a failure.

Note: all the links are for the "picture" only - just so you have an idea what to look for, not a specific recomendation
 
pollinator
Posts: 259
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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To Mary Ellen It seems no matter where we live, sometimes Mother Nature will throw us a curve ball and life will become pretty unpleasant for a while. It is because we live in zone 4 Continental climate that we have the equipment to deal with what we get. We have about 2 ft on the ground now, here in Central WI, which is a bit much, but I remember going to Louisiana after freezing rain. Folks were slipping and sliding in their cars. We knew to keep it slow and steady. No sudden moves in any direction. But folks there were really panicked. The town does not have snow removal equipment. Not sure they even have salt trucks!  Attractions were cancelled, Museums were closed. We spent the week more or less in the hotel. Bummer. Good food, though.
Slush is the worst thing to drive in. I think it was 2-3 years ago coming back from Madison and there was 3-4" of slush on Interstate 39. It normally takes just a little under 2 hours to make the trip. It took 3 that time, and there were quite a few in the ditch.
Do you have electricity to the chicken coop? If you do, they sell a base that you can rest the metal chicken waterer on. [NOT the plastic one!] Looks like this:
https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=chicken+heater+for+water&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=323566565272&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15882116606658791804&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9019203&hvtargid=kwd-611763289918&ref=pd_sl_3x8h31unsg_e.
They get 4 gallons / 2 days of water [for 26 chickens] and it will not freeze even if the temps outside dip to near 40 below [Fahrenheit]. the water won't freeze or get too hot either: chickens really hate warm water! I'm surprised that your chickens attack the snow like Styrofoam. Mine refuse to get outside at all if they can't see the ground in places. And I have to throw some scratch to get them out!
Could your donkey be mobilized for a ride in the snow? pull a sled? These are sturdy critters normally, and humans ride them like horses. In a pinch, they should be help, not additional labor.
Congrats on keeping your newborn calf alive with a coat! Where was Momma? Did she abandon her wee little one? [Bad Momma!]
I hope this stretch of bad weather ends soon for you and us.
As far as freezing water, my outside faucets at the house have a cover and they are not used when it is freezing. It looks like this:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Hard-Faucet-Cover-1981/204759083
My hoses get hung in the trees to drain over winter[I have about 25, so the day we drain the pumps and put the hoses away is quite a chore!]. We get the water from the kitchen faucet. Yep, it is a bit messy but we do what we have to do. In the various parks around here, they have public hand pumps with lever action that will drain right back after use. I think I might get myself one someday. (But even if I had one, I think access to the pump would have to be inside a building because snowshoeing through 2 ft of snow to get to the pump is not for me. No Siree!) The cheap little plastic sled with 2 homer pails on top is getting a lot of use this winter and works slick: I don't spill a drop and the buckets glide on the snow without hardly any effort. I can pull them with my pinkie.
 
steward
Posts: 4335
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote: But I now have a walk behind battery operated Snow Joe snowblower that surprised me with how long it could last [about 2 hours on "fast"] and how far it could throw snow [25 ft]. The snow was not real fluffy either! It has two 40 Volt lithium batteries. Metal blades, metal scoop... The advantage of a snow blower is that it actually throws the snow far off the path and up over embankments. [Don't aim it at any windows, just in case]. I discovered also that when the battery gets low, you can *either* throw snow *or* limp back home with the drive engaged, so you won't get stranded. Nice feature. (Just so you know, I'm only a satisfied customer and do not get paid for this 'plug'). As soon as you are done, remove the battery and recharge. Do not leave any lithium battery outside, of course. Even my hubby who always wants  the biggest, the strongest motor he can get is impressed with  my "little snowblower". It takes a lot to impress him.


Hey Cecile, which model of Snow Joe did you get?
 
Sally Munoz
Posts: 93
Location: SW Washington
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Jay Angler wrote:We have what's called a "lever yard hydrant" in one location on our property and I wish we had more. Eg. https://www.homehardware.ca/en/lever-yard-hydrant-with-5-bury-depth/p/3230499



Most of my farmer friends have these, soooo on my wish list! I'm carrying buckets from the bathtub and while I love a good workout, this particular chore ranks pretty low. Especially with all the shoveling using the same muscles!
 
pollinator
Posts: 291
Location: Southern Finland zone 5
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For regular, all winter snow shoveling of our yard and our road, this is what I use. It's much faster than using a shovel. Of course, if you have a snow blower (we don't) or a tractor (we do, but it won't start in the winter, it's 45 years old and becomes cranky in the winter), then those are much faster and less strenuous but on the other hand they consume fuel.

Pushing a snow scoop is hard work, but it helps me stay in some sort of shape through the winter so I try to see it as useful exercise. I also don't do it all in one go if it has just snowed a lot. I do only what's absolutely necessary in the morning and then continue in the evening. Or we share the work with my husband, if he's at home.

The kids can participate too, if you get them a child-sized snow scoop. Our youngest loved to push the snow scoop when he was little. That kept him occupied in a safe activity so I could then do the actual work


 
Posts: 106
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
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An older (he is probably pushing 80) friend posted a video of himself using a window frame as a snow scoop.  Frame was about 2 to 2 1/2 ft wide and about 3 ft or so tall.  He slid snow and pivoted it to side and had drive cleared in no time.
The thing that helps me is my husband, haha.  But really, I have hated cold forever.  Now I am doing the longevity quest with Ben Greenfield on Mindvalley and one thing we do daily is hot/cold contrast showers.  10 sec hot/ 20 cold for 5 minutes.  I thought I would hate it but it is very invigorating and makes me so much more cold adapted!
 
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Mike Jay wrote:If a front wheel drive van or car was a barrier to driving in the winter, about 1/3rd of the population of WI would never be able to leave their house.  Many of those people get by without chains or dedicated winter tires.  So you can certainly manage if you're careful.  If you absolutely need to drive your van through 6" of snow (on the road) the chains would be worth putting on.  If the snow/shush is near the ground clearance of your vehicle, you're risking it.  If there's some ice or packed snow, just drive carefully (grandma holding soup).



Indeed, front drive handles quite well on snow with good winter tires. Though a 4x4 with winter tires does usually get uphill easily where some front driven car will not go, without chains. It seems that the weight also plays a big role, +100,000 US$ SUVs get easily stuck where a Suzuki Jimny is unstoppable.

In any case always keep in mind that a 4x4 drives downhill on snow just like any other car. What many people don't keep in mind on snow, being unable to get somewhere up is annoying but that's all, though if you can't stop, you have real problem...;-(
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
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Mike Jay wrote:

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote: But I now have a walk behind battery operated Snow Joe snowblower that surprised me with how long it could last [about 2 hours on "fast"] and how far it could throw snow [25 ft]. The snow was not real fluffy either! It has two 40 Volt lithium batteries. Metal blades, metal scoop... The advantage of a snow blower is that it actually throws the snow far off the path and up over embankments. [Don't aim it at any windows, just in case]. I discovered also that when the battery gets low, you can *either* throw snow *or* limp back home with the drive engaged, so you won't get stranded. Nice feature. (Just so you know, I'm only a satisfied customer and do not get paid for this 'plug'). As soon as you are done, remove the battery and recharge. Do not leave any lithium battery outside, of course. Even my hubby who always wants  the biggest, the strongest motor he can get is impressed with  my "little snowblower". It takes a lot to impress him.


Hey Cecile, which model of Snow Joe did you get?



This is the one,but it is getting hard to find. I had to travel to Rice Lake to pick it up
https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Joe-iON24SB-XR-Self-Propelled-Two-Stage/dp/B01FN0XJXQ
 
pollinator
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Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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File under planning ahead/observation/correcting or avoiding mistakes...
Make some notes or take some photos of problems/mistakes when they happen to have a chance of remembering what needs to be done to avoid/correct the problem.
The time for the correction/repair/preparation may be months away...put it on your calendar. (i.e. "Next October, buy sand and salt" or "April: re-hang gate to open the other way! ")

If you have gates that you need to use in the winter, make them swing towards your approach (or both ways). Pushing the gate open against/into the snow to get through (if that's even possible) puts a lot of stress on the gate, and only really works in light powdery snow.

More than a few times now, I've had to scale our 8' deer fence to clear the gates...Luckily the gates are strong steel tube livestock gates and very ladder-like, and the H-braces on the fence are at the right height for me to stand on and swing my legs over the top.
Our two most frequently used gates have this problem, a big oversight! The main pedestrian gate can be changed (already on my list for the spring, and will improve traffic flow), but the vehicle gate can't realistically be changed.
Using our other two gates (we don't use/shovel them out in the winter) would require a 150 yard walk through the snow to reach the problem gates from the other side.
 
Jay Angler
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:

the vehicle gate can't realistically be changed

Hmmm .. sounds as if you need a human-sized "pop door" in or beside your vehicle gate. I met one of those in Japan decades ago. It was a small door that did not go right down to the ground (think 18 inches to 2 feet above the ground?) that was inside a much larger gate. People could open and get through the small gate without having to go to the trouble of opening the large gate which could handle vehicles etc. I can see the advantage of having it above the common snowfall height, but also, just because the large gate can only open one way, doesn't mean you couldn't design the 'pop door' to open the opposite or both ways. Generally, the step-over height is not included in the "door within a door" seen elsewhere, because it could be considered a tripping hazard, but you've got a specific reason for doing this so if you're worried, make sure you design it to be locked!
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Jay, I really like the idea of the "pop door"! It will take some cutting and welding, but would be worth it!
I've used such doors installed in large overhead garage doors, and they are great.

One good thing, and the main reason that the gate can't be reversed, is that it opens "downhill".
Once it opens about 10 degrees, which is about two feet and enough room to slip through on foot, it will swing freely over about three or four inches of snow.

Since it is a twelve foot gate, and has almost zero ground clearance to a granite threshhold when shut (for small wildlife exclusion) it starts plowing the snow immediately, and gets iced in easily.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:File under planning ahead/observation/correcting or avoiding mistakes...
If you have gates that you need to use in the winter, make them swing towards your approach (or both ways). Pushing the gate open against/into the snow to get through (if that's even possible) puts a lot of stress on the gate, and only really works in light powdery snow.



I added 2 doors to the chicken yard so I could easily [or so I thought] bring in forage with the 4 wheeler, take out compost. Well, one swings in and the other one swings out. Indeed, the one that swings in is not usable in winter and will have to be redone. Silly little thing like that makes our lives harder than they should be. Thanks
 
Jay Angler
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:

it has almost zero ground clearance to a granite threshhold when shut (for small wildlife exclusion)

Yes, I guessed that slope +/-  wildlife exclusion was the issue as we've got a similar gate. I used some old swing-set chain and a long piece of salvaged 4 inch diameter black plastic pipe to make a "rolling barrier" for the bottom of the gate to keep some Muscovy ducks in our field. I don't think this solution would help in your situation, but for some people who have a gate and generally don't get more than 4-5 inches of snow at a time, it might do the job if they raised the gate and put some sort of a "flap" on the bottom. The advantage of the old sewer pipe is that it is relatively light and slippery, and it was recycled (read "free").
 
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Winter Tires: contrary to popular belief these are not "snow tires" but tires designed to perform optimally in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius (or thereabouts) - the rubber remains pliable in colder Temps, not like reg tires where the rubber turns hard, inflexible, and basically resembles a hockey puck. So unless you live very south in North America, or elsewhere that never sees "cool" winter Temps, we should ALL have and use winter tires. As to the "expense" well, they make your summer tires last twice as long so it all "comes out in the wash". Why not use winter tires all year long, you may ask, well, that softer rubber that provides grip in the cold also wears way faster in the warm.

Snow Removal:  This year I had a brainstorm and hauled out an inherited leaf blower and whipped the snow off the steps, vehicle roofs and pathways. Our West Coast snow is rarely light and fluffy like the 2.5 feet we got last week, so I'm not sure it will work with the heavy sludge we usually get, but it made snow clearing as fun as pressure washing (c'mon, I'm not the only one who finds joy in Pressure washing!!!).

Get Extra jugs of WINTER windscreen cleaner as the grimey slush sprayed by passing vehicles requires constant windshield washing.

Car Stuck:  A few shovels full from a forgotten pile of driveway gravel chucked under the tires sitting on "packed snow turned to ice" worked great.

If possible, back in and stop at the head of the driveway, but far enough back that out of control idiots don't take the car out as the fishtail by!  DO NOT park in such a way that you will be trying to go from parked to drive on even the tiniest "uphill", even a very slight grade from a dead stop can be enough to keep you stuck at home.

Before the Snow Falls: consider laying down something removable (cardboard, wood, rubbermaid lids) in front of the tires of your parked vehicle - this eliminates early morning shovelling, just lift and carefully remove with their cargo of snow and you have nice bare gravel/pavement under the tires as you start up. Pre salt your tire path to prevent accumulation. If possible, salt or ash your tire tracks for when you return home.

Warning:  When the snow plow eventually shows up, no matter the time, or hoew cold, or how tired, IMMEDIATELY shovel that damned windrow from the head of the driveway before it becomes so solid only a flamethrower will budge it.

Be a Good Person:  Take a little time to shovel bus stops, mailboxes and maybe a neighbor (it is the 'right' thing to do); ensure water catchments and storm drains are CLEAR to prevent flooding.

I also take ownership of the intersections at both ends of my street and wander down to shovel/salt it - I got stuck (high centered) one year in the slushy (on top of frozen) crud, in FRONT of the bus (blocked it for 45 minutes, it was mortifying) and make damn sure that never happens again!

Poultry/livestock water:  sometimes a simple, 'real' incandescent lightbulb will do the trick, but I rely on a collection of "animal heating pads" from K&H Manufacturing (bought either on sale or in warehouse store ($25-$40) on Amazon) that either the animals can use to keep warm or you can set food/water on to keep from freezing. They are hard plastic, super durable (I usually get 8-10 yrs, constant use)  and use from 40-100 watts to operate.

The same company also makes heated water bowls I love, all over 10 yrs old ($25, again, wait until they are on sale/warehouse store, Amazon).  They have lots of other stuff, (these I do not have and have not tried) from heated hoses to heated hen perches and heated poultry waterers...

Pond deicers, aerators, bubblers or stock tank heaters can keep large volumes of water thawed (rain catchment into barrel or stock tank) without needing the hose, or hauling multiple 5 gallon pails.

Oh and don't forget the dog, clear a "potty patch" or you will be sorry...
 
pollinator
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A ray of hope: It WILL melt--someday!
 
Posts: 137
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Winter brings 3 main challenges :   Cold, snow and ice.

Snow is what I call "free insulation" and as soon as we have some dry snow I shovel it around the house against the foundation as high as possible. This is repeated every snowfall.  Saves tons of heat.

Most people in cold windy areas have probably noticed how once the snow lays in around the buildings they are much less drafty.

The cold , especially when the ground is bare, is the real "killer", especially with high winds  .  Taps must be kept dripping at night. Let both the hot and cold taps drip just a little but make sure it keeps dripping like a thin stream. Much better than waking up to no water.

This year has been a big year for Ice in our area. This is a real advantage in the woodlot but around the houses and driveways has been dangerous.  Walk using a ski pole and strap on ice grips on boots .

I have modified an older pair of forestry rubber boots with short sheet metal screws in the soles , easily done and they don't make them leak.

Winter requires patience and caution.

Its an expensive and challenging season.

I always say winter and summer are two different countries !

Cheers to winter !

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The frozen bay offers fishing and transportation ( 30 inches of ice)
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warm inside
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Winter fun, make a snow cave !
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from inside the snow cave
 
pollinator
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I agree about winter tires. You can tell who has them and who doesn't by watching people start at ice-covered intersections,  and that's always telling, but the hockey puck-hard all-weathers will also betray you on curves in the road.

In my experience, only small dogs and chihuahuas need special winter clearing. You couldn't keep my old Golden from bounding through snowdrifts, and he would clear himself a spot to squat simply by circling a couple of times in his own footprint.

I'm going to just come out and say it: I love snow caves. I dug my own as a child. I will never let any future children of mine do it. I have seen too many stories of children dying of suffocation or crushing injuries to have that happen.

You know how we don't really encourage children to play in those massive piles of leaves on sidestreets in the fall because of how cars liked to drive through them? I think more caution is warranted in this space, too.

-CK
 
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r ranson wrote:

John Weiland wrote:

r ranson wrote:what are car chains and would they be a better option than winter tires?

Seem
s a shame to buy special tires if we only get winter one or two weeks every other year....



What kind of vehicle(s) do you have?



Front-wheel drive van.  



I also drive a fwd van. We down a hill that is shaded so it takes forever to melt off & it's a rural county road that's not arterial so it's low priority for plowing & gets compacted pretty quickly. We got these chains after a recommendation from a Seattle/Redmond local and we have been happy with them so far.

Security Chain Company SZ429 Super Z6 Cable Tire Chain for Passenger Cars, Pickups, and SUVs - Set of 2 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HZFDQ4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_JfTBCbNBD6KZE
 
Lorinne Anderson
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"Clearing a spot for the dog" is so YOU don't inadvertently step on it buried in the snow!
 
Chris Kott
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Ah. I see. We had a backyard that was largely unuseable except as a snow and dog poop repository. So some business would be done in the back, but that was usually pee. Much to my chagrin, my 100 lb. Golden would save his poops for our walks.

I still miss that dog, even having had to take two garbage bags with me on walks.

-CK
 
pollinator
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:

Jan White wrote:Old sweater sleeves make great gaiters.  Cuff gets pulled up the leg, arm goes down over the boot.



Because I'm past 70, I don't see myself doing that much shoveling. Done my share: Been there, done that. Nobody cheered. If I had to now, I'd do it in small increments, like an hour here, and hour there.

I'd recommend a big, wide push shovel. Not the dinky plastic crap shovels with one handle they sell in big box stores. No. I mean the big metal scoop with the big stirrup handle that reaches both ends of the scoop. Unfortunately, they are getting rarer than hen's teeth. If I did not have one, I'd go to a metal fabricator to get one made! Here is the only one I found, and it is well worth the $80!
https://scoopsandrakes.com/
This tool is so nice: I can get under the snowbank, push down on the handle and break a big chunk [way too big for lifting] and sled it, pull it to where I want it, turn it around and lift the handle to unload. This is also what I use when I need to remove litter in the chicken coop and drag said litter to my fruit trees, so it gets a lot of use. It needs to be strong, good quality, well made.



Thanks for this. Canadian shovels i find to be best, plastic or metal. The Garant brand of shovel are great. Look for a maple leaf on good snow gear and thats from a Michigander!

They still make it! Pricey but worth every penny. When i bought it we lived in an apartment with no shoveling required. My wife was so hard on me for spending 50 dollars back then on a useless (to us at the time) snow shovel. They are 80 dollars now!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A26FPC/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000A26FPC&linkCode=as2&tag=bestprodtag11443-20

I can add to having seen, handled and been stuck in all types of snow, like Forrest Gump in the rain.

My favorite snow is ultra fluffy at night, in the still its like wearing earmuffs and all you can hear is the softly landing flakes, wonderment! That and starwars warp effect while driving and the way it slithers on the dry roadway.

Plastic shovels are great for pitching snow, but my favorite are the metal shovels with a curve. Temper and shape are important. With the right snow, it works like a snow plow and will make a high pitch on a good thrust without lifting it or the snow. Its way too heavy to do too much scooping, but it has seen almost fifteen years of use. The paint and varnish is still great and the thing is sturdy to say the least. Minimal deflection or twisting the way its built.

The wrong geometry of a lackluster shovel will lead to resentments of the medium and activity...

The sled/scoop, now that is good technology!  I am usually dubious of shovel gimmics but that works, i can see it and i might drop in on them.

The documentary Alone In The Wilderness has insight on extreme shoveling. Dick Preneke shoveled 20 feet wide to end up with a footpath through a 6 foot deep snow canyon by the thaw, to get to water!

A second or forth double on comments related to safety when leaving in cool or cold weather.... bring everything. In the winter our vehicle is like a bug out mobile, it has to suit as lodging and storage of gear for life support if you must travel afoot from a location it was simple to get to under power and not so simple to make a trip back or to safety on foot.

Have a tow strap and jumper cables, usually no one else will when they stop to help.

Unfrozen water. Keep some for sure, a gallon minimum.

A sled is not to be overlooked if snow is a possibility. I use them to move all the things that wheels have trouble in. Best way to manually transport children and groceries from a snow stranded car and firewood anytime there is snow. I used to make a snow train with two sled loads in tow from an eighth to a quarter mile away.

Big chunks of snow pack, ill get onto the sled and move up and over the snow ramps and out of the way. The most fun part of snow country to me is sledding. At my age i still out lap the younguns! Gravity powered racing is so sweet on snow and ice, a real joy.

Dont forget to play in snow! Dealing with it is only part of the experience.

Tall boots with a proper closure over thick wool socks most always do the trick and i live outside more than half the time hiking my knees up to my ears and all over and through the drifts on roofs and in the field, etc.  

If its real packy, pant legs go inside and will stay there all day as long as boots are 10-11 inches tall and pants are
not tight or short. Most people up here wear bib overalls or snow pants. Some of these have gaitors integrated, so you dont look like a misplaced extra from footloose casting....if it matters (from a guy who gardens in a karate Gi!). Otherwise, insulating under pants (long johns) tuck into or over socks and pants into boots then bibs cover all. With this system getting wet feet or snow packed into the tops of good tall boots has been a rarity.
 
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r ranson wrote:How do I sharpen the edge on the plastic snow shovel?



I used to use a scraper for wood working, I've also used a knife edge as a scraper to sharpen the edge of plastic snow shovels and plastic scoop shovels.

Now some of my personal snow time memories and wisdom learned;

I like studded snow tires for winter (in states that allow them) and if they didn't I carried snow chains for when the state police made me put them on my winter all terrain tires. (having these mounted on their own set of rims is the only way to go)
Trucker rubber hold down straps are to be used to tighten the ring formed by the chains so the suckers don't flop, vibrate and destroy your vehicle.  

When we moved to Newburgh NY I quickly discovered that you don't shovel the driveway all the way to the road UNTIL AFTER the PLOW goes by.
I also found out why some houses had doors to no where on their second floor, it was for getting out once the snow falls started in earnest.
My first night in Newburgh was a sleepless one since my dad had me keep the driveway cleared so he could get to the airforce base in the morning. (it snowed four feet that night)
If you don't have a rope tied to the house and the outer edge of your property, don't go outside in a blizzard (also known as a white out).
If you think you have enough layers on, you don't, go back and dress for standing outside for hours at the  north pole.
Goose down clothing is necessary, not a luxury, and you want the stuff labeled "Expedition"


The best way to deal with snow in my opinion is to live where you have to travel to the snow.
Where I live now, we get one to two snow events a year at the most, that suits my dislike of snow when I am not on the ski slopes. Those snows never last more than two days by the way.
I now own 2 4WD vehicles, one with differential lockers.
 
pollinator
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Sometimes you just need a bigger hammer......

....which awaits in the garage for tomorrow's snow removal.  No need to tackle this drift today since the ground blizzard (4 degrees F. and winds gusting to 45 mph) will continue to fill in the drive till the wee hours of the morning.  Spring is just around the corner....


......right? ;-)
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Mike Jay
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Just got back from snowblowing out our driveway.  Swirling winds are a pain in the cheeks.

Found another neat tool that I'll have to do a gear review for.  It's the Avalanche snow remover.  Instead of a roof rake, it slides up under the snow with a cutting bar and yoke.  The loosened snow pieces slide down a plastic sheet and onto the ground.  You use it from the ground and I found I could use it backwards by pulling it up the roof on the 2 story side of the house.  Very much worth the money.  We happened across our neighbors struggling with a roof rake.  Did their garage in 10 minutes.  They couldn't believe it and were expecting to spend 4 hours on the roof and with a roof rake.

 
steward
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Might be OT, but my winter advice is "don't forget what flowers are" per the metaphors in this song:



And it's the very last day of February.

Thank goodness.

 
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Snow in northwestern Montana is pretty deep this tear. We are dealing with it despite the upgrade driveway from my Earth sheltered home. Biggest problem is that snow and slush gets packed into the wheel wells of my 2006 Subaru Forester. Frozen hard it rubs on my all weather tires. We chop it out but it quickly accumulates again. The car can plow through big drifts of new fallen snow (we got 30 inches two weeks ago) but I worry about damage to the tires from the build up. Words of wisdom?
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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roberta mccanse wrote:Snow in northwestern Montana is pretty deep this tear. We are dealing with it despite the upgrade driveway from my Earth sheltered home. Biggest problem is that snow and slush gets packed into the wheel wells of my 2006 Subaru Forester. Frozen hard it rubs on my all weather tires. We chop it out but it quickly accumulates again. The car can plow through big drifts of new fallen snow (we got 30 inches two weeks ago) but I worry about damage to the tires from the build up. Words of wisdom?



Looks pretty much like what I'm looking at now, except the elevation is 1,329 ft. and flat as a potato field. We keep the trucks in the garage, and the driveway plowed so we have no problem. We have a little ice breaker [a 4" blade welded at the end of a 4 ft. metal stick]. When the wheel well is full of slush, we *carefully* shove the blade in there and the slush falls. Wisconsin salts the roads. If I recall, Montana doesn't. That makes a big difference too, although we pay for it big time in having the truck skirts corrode badly in the space of 3-4 years. [Just can't win, can we?!]
 
roberta mccanse
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Thanks for your response. We also have an ice breaker on a pole and, as you day, we use it carefully to remove the build up. I am wondering if our problem is related to the structure of the car, or the tires, etc. Our country road is plowed and sanded pretty well to accommodate the school buses. It may be that the sand includes some element intended to thaw the ice etc. In the meantime, more snow on the way. Easy does it.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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roberta mccanse wrote:Thanks for your response. We also have an ice breaker on a pole and, as you day, we use it carefully to remove the build up. I am wondering if our problem is related to the structure of the car, or the tires, etc. Our country road is plowed and sanded pretty well to accommodate the school buses. It may be that the sand includes some element intended to thaw the ice etc. In the meantime, more snow on the way. Easy does it.



I hear you: It used to be that sand was just sand and salt was just salt. However, they add stuff to the salt so that it is effective at lower temperatures. The unfortunate result is that this stuff corrodes our cars a lot faster and once the slush is melted, it freezes at the end of the day, making more ruts that throw the cars sideways at night. does anyone know what it is they add to the salt and sand in Wisconsin?
 
Mary-Ellen Zands
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I’ve tried to reply to Cécile but my computer keeps going down.  Maybe the snowstorm and our provider.
Yesterday was the first day that I could say wow maybe spring is on its way.  First time I could bring iPad to the cows without the battery dying because of the cold.  Easier to send you all the pics. So yes Valentine (our little calf) survived that terrible weather.  I know his jacket helped.  The jacket was so big on him I really had to tighten all the snaps and the velcro.  Yesterday I loosened everything because he had grown so much, his mama wasn’t too happy with me fiddling with her son. So Mama did not abandon her boy.  As my roommate said she would because of the jacket.  
In that cold snap 2 weeks ago we built a shelter with straw bales for Valentine to get out of the wind. Unfortunately the bull seemed to love those new digs and the heat it brought. Calf used it a few times.  Today we are in another snowstorm. Mother Nature isn’t finished with us yet.  I’m hoping this will be one of her last hurrahs!  

So Cécile to answer some of your questions; the donkeys I inherited from my parents when they sold their farm.  They are in retirement (the donkeys of course) at 27 and 35 years of age.  I sold some donkeys over the last few years because I didn’t have time to train them as I am the caregiver to my elderly parents.  We used to ride our oldest donkey.  He is great!  I wouldn’t do that to him now.  They are Sicilian much smaller than the standard donkeys. My parents bred donkeys and sheep for 30 years.
Yes we have electricity in the chicken coop for their heat lamp and they need a light for their 14 hours of daylight in the winter.  Otherwise we wouldn’t get any eggs at all.  The best solution I’ve found for the chicken water is a 9 inch rubber tub with a brick in it, sitting atop a big cement block.  The heat lamp with cage is right above the water.  So the chickens and ducks can just get their heads in between to drink and the ducks can’t take a bath. It’s easy to clean and I throw the rubber into the snow a few times a week and fill it with snow and clean it scrubbing with my boots.
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Our calf that survived -30c thanks to his coat
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His Momma who has taken good care of him.
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Had to readjust straps on jacket since he’s grown so much in the last 2 weeks.
 
please buy this thing and then I get a fat cut of the action:
Taylor&Zach’s Bootcamp Journey
https://permies.com/t/115886/permaculture-projects/Taylor-Zach-Bootcamp-Journey
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